‘We plan to increase our presence in the western and southern parts of the country’

Magma Fincorp Ltd is planning to enter the general insurance business and has bought stake in a credit information company, Experian. Sanjay Charmia, VC and MD and Dhirendra Kumar Hota, AVP and head for MIS budgeting, speak to Moneylife’s Aaron Rodrigues about the company’s plans

Aaron Rodrigues (ML): What are the prospects and outlook for the company, going forward?
Magma Fincorp (MF):
We hope to benefit from a gross domestic product (GDP) growth of 7%-8% which will mean a rise in demand for automobiles, tractors and construction equipment. We also expect to clock higher than industry growth. We expect higher revenues for high-yield products like used commercial vehicles, tractors and loans to small businesses. The general insurance joint venture with HDI Gerling will expand our product offerings. We plan to increase our presence and market share in the western and southern regions.

ML: The company’s net interest margin has grown to 5.1% from 3.6%. How much do you expect it to grow in the next quarter?
MF:
We propose to at least maintain (the margin) at more than 5%. We have achieved 5.6% in the third quarter and we would like to maintain (the margin) at more than 5%, by using the contribution of high-yielding products which currently deliver around 13.5% gross margin.

ML: What are your plans in the western and southern regions where you have a low presence?
MF:
We plan to increase our presence in the western and southern parts of the country. This year we are adding five branches and next year we propose to add 15 branches.

ML: Magma recently acquired a 7% stake in Experian Credit. How much was it valued at?
MF:
We have picked up a 7% stake and this cost us Rs4.20 crore. Experian has an equity base of Rs60 crore. We plan to finance this acquisition through internal sources.

Moneylife (ML): When will your general insurance venture with HDI Gerling become operational?
Magma Fincorp (MF):
We filed our first application with IRDA at the end of October. It is in an advanced stage and would be completed in a month or two. We shall then go to the second stage when IRDA will ask for our company’s detailed business plans and policies. Once that is over, the final approval is a mere formality. We expect operations to begin in June this year.

ML: Which business segment of general insurance will Magma focus on and why?
MF:
We would be focusing on our captive business, retail health and the fire & engineering business. That’s because that can be an immediate start-up for our insurance business and then of course we can build up through doing independent businesses like building up relationships with dealers, manufacturers and direct customers among small & medium businesses and mid-size corporates. 

The captive business is largely the auto sector. As we deal mainly with rural and semi-urban markets, we intend to capitalise on retail health, which is a profitable business, unlike group health. Every month, we have added 100 new clients in the SME loan segment, so we can give them insurance and then we can also look at non-captive business (which is an independent business not related to Magma).

ML: What kind of revenues or market share are you targeting?
MF:
It’s quite premature to talk about it now. Once our operations begin—which would be in the first half of the next financial year—then we will be able to make our analysis and talk about it.
 

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